Hong Kong: HKFI launches Virtual Onboarding Platform to facilitate distribution of life insurance products

| 08 Sep 2020

The Hong Kong Federation of Insurers (HKFI) has launched its Virtual Onboarding (VO) platform - a solution to facilitate the distribution of long term insurance products via video conferencing in the midst of COVID-19.

Seeing our society has been hit hard by the pandemic, it is of paramount importance for the insurance industry to continue serving the insuring public and ensuring their needs are met while reducing the risk of virus infection, said HKFI.

With this in mind, the HKFI has been in close collaboration with the Insurance Authority (IA) in rolling out a range of facilitative measures since February.

This VO platform is one of the latest facilitations offered by the HKFI. Through close collaboration with the IA, stringent compliance and technical assessments on the selected solutions were conducted to make certain all regulatory requirements in terms of security, user access rights, auditing can be fulfilled and strong levels of consumer protection are maintained.

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Insurers, who opt to adopt this pre-vetted platform in their sandbox application for the distribution of long term insurance policies via video conferencing tools, will not be required to go through the technical assessment of the solution. The overall process has thus been streamlined and the turnaround time would be considerably shortened.

“The VO platform is launched to cater for the needs, affordability and suitability of Members of different sizes and distribution channels. We are grateful to the IA for their readiness to support such an initiative at the industry level,” said Ms Selina Lau, Chief Executive of the Hong Kong Federation of Insurers.

“We saw substantial regression in our long term new business in the first half of 2020. We hope that the VO platform can be a shot in the arm for our industry and help ensure the public having alternative avenue to obtain insurance advice and protection,” she added. 

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The IA has extended its temporary facilitative measures for non-face-to-face distribution of specific protective insurance products to 31 December 2020.

Products covered by the temporary facilitative measures include Qualifying Deferred Annuity Policy (QDAP), Voluntary Health Insurance Scheme (VHIS) products, term life policies, and refundable policies without substantial savings component or renewable policies without cash value that provide insurance protection.

Insurers and intermediaries can distribute those products via different non-face-to-face means, such as digital, telemarketing, postal or video conferencing, but are required to make upfront disclosure at the point-of-sale and provide an extended cooling-off period of no less than 30 calendar days for the protection of policy holders.

The IA has been encouraging insurers to expedite the adoption of Insurtech to combat challenges arising from the COVID-19 pandemic. Apart from distribution with the temporary facilitative measures, insurers can also apply under the Insurtech Sandbox to conduct trials enabling virtual onboarding of customers via video conferencing tools for a wider array of insurance products beyond those covered by the temporary facilitative measures.

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